Utah: BMW/Rahal Letterman Racing race report

Tooele, Utah May 17, 2009... The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team soldiered to seventh and eighth place finishes in today's American Le Mans Series Utah Grand Prix. Despite strong qualifying results, prospects for the race outcome were altered at...

Tooele, Utah May 17, 2009... The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team soldiered to seventh and eighth place finishes in today's American Le Mans Series Utah Grand Prix. Despite strong qualifying results, prospects for the race outcome were altered at the start.

When the green flag flew, a series of car-to-car contacts throughout the field culminated in an incident between the two BMW M3s in Turn One. As a consequence of the collision, teammates Tommy Milner and Bill Auberlen were forced to the pits for extensive repairs in the opening minutes of the race. Each M3 re-entered the race more than five laps down from the GT2 leader.

The balance of the race was without incident as Milner pitted the No.92 M3 after 38 laps to hand over to Dirk Muller. Auberlen pitted eight laps later and Joey Hand took the wheel of the No.90 M3. Although Muller and Auberlen made late stops for fuel, both drivers were able to regain two class positions over the course of their stints.

Martin Birkmann, BMW of North America Motorsport Manager:

"We began the race with high expectations because we tested on this track four weeks ago and achieved second-row qualifying yesterday. After a quarter-mile our hopes were dashed... if it had been a drag race we would've had a better outcome. We need to look carefully at what went wrong, but I am proud of the morale of the team. We fought to recover today and will look to a better result at Lime Rock in July."

Bobby Rahal, Team Principal:

"It ruins your day when you have an incident in first corner with both team cars, but I guess they say `that's racing.' The cars ran reasonably well for the duration of the race and we moved each car forward two positions."

The ALMS will return to competition at Lime Rock Park on July 17-18 for Round 5.

-credit: bmw/rlr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Dirk Müller , Bobby Rahal , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Tommy Milner